The graduation rate for first-time undergraduate Hispanic students is 10% lower than their white peers. The best colleges for Hispanic students provide resources specifically designed to help these learners transition into school. These colleges also use strategies to retain Hispanic students.
Finding a school that supports Hispanic degree-seekers can make all the difference. Prospective learners should research Hispanic student organizations and opportunities to engage with Hispanic history and culture at each of their target schools. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is an excellent resource for learning about Hispanic-serving institutions.
The following section includes a ranked list of the best colleges for Hispanic students. To create this ranking, we used our standard methodology to find schools that excel academically. Our team then compared that list to the 299 HACU member schools in the U.S. to find the best schools for Hispanic, Latino/a, and Chicano/a students.
Top Colleges for Hispanic Students
University of Central Florida
|Orlando, FL||Graduation Rate: 73%||
Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida consistently ranks as one of the best colleges for Hispanic students. The U.S. Department of Education designated UCF as a Hispanic-serving institution in 2009. Nearly 30% of UCF's students are Hispanic.
UCF hosts several student associations, fraternities, and sororities that specifically serve Hispanic students. Along with Brazilian, Dominican, Mexican, and Peruvian student associations, other organizations focus on politics, law, and music.
UCF provides support to Hispanic students through scholarships and other initiatives. The university encourages incoming students to apply to the National Hispanic Scholarship, which covers tuition fees for eight semesters. In 2020, UCF secured almost $2 million in grant funding to improve and expand STEM education for Hispanic students.
Antioch University Santa Barbara
|Santa Barbara, CA||Graduation Rate: N/A||
A private liberal arts school located in downtown Santa Barbara, California, Antioch University Santa Barbara is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution. With a Hispanic student population of about 25% and a dedication to diversity, AUSB offers academic opportunities to a broad spectrum of students, regardless of age or background.
AUSB secured a U.S. Department of Education grant to increase diversity and access to higher education. The university also promotes its College-to-Career initiative, offering additional support for students coming from underserved backgrounds.
AUSB boasts an active Latino Student Association, and students pursuing a master's in clinical psychology can complete a concentration in Latino mental health.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Based in Miami, Florida International University has focused on diversity since its founding in 1965. FIU offers almost 200 different degrees, many of which can be completed entirely online.
FIU is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution. The university enrolls and graduates more Hispanic students than any other institution in the U.S. Approximately two-thirds of the more than 40,000 undergraduate students enrolled at FIU are Hispanic.
FIU houses several Hispanic-focused student organizations, including the Hispanic Business Association and the Venezuelan Student Alliance. The university is also home to the Cuban Research Institute, the Florida-Mexico Institute, and the Latin American and Caribbean Center.
University of Houston
|Houston, TX||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Consistently ranked as one of the most diverse research universities in the country, the University of Houston earned the Hispanic-serving institution designation in 2012. About 35% of UH's more than 46,000 students are Hispanic. The university ranks among the top 25% of schools that award the most degrees to Hispanic students.
UH offers a Hispanic studies program and a Hispanic healthcare certificate for pharmacy students. This certificate track focuses on teaching advanced skills, preparing graduates to deliver linguistically and culturally competent pharmacy care.
UH houses a Hispanic Law Students Association, Hispanic Studies Graduate Student Organization, and Latinx Student Association. The university also hosts an annual Congress of Hispanic Studies.
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
|Socorro, NM||Graduation Rate: 56%||
With more than 30% of its approximately 2,000 enrolled students identifying as Hispanic, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology qualifies as a Hispanic-serving institution. In 2018, NMT secured a nearly $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of Hispanic secondary teachers specializing in STEM.
NMT offers a Hispanic studies minor that includes courses in history and language. The university also houses the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
In addition to issuing tuition subsidies, NMT's financial aid office aggregates financial resources for Hispanic students. Applicants should investigate the New Mexico Alliance for Hispanic Education and the Directory for Scholarships for America's Latino Students to learn about scholarship opportunities.
Texas State University
|San Marcos, TX||Graduation Rate: 55%||
In 2011, Texas State University was designated as a Hispanic-serving institution. Today, about 40% of the San Marcos-based school's students are Hispanic. Over the last decade, the university has received about $50 million in funding to better serve its Hispanic students.
Texas State maintains a set of strategic initiatives to aid in the success of Hispanic students. Providing career and financial education, working to enhance the success of future teachers, and offering academic mentoring and coaching are all part of Texas State's plan to bolster long-term success.
Along with administrative initiatives, Texas State offers programs and campus resources for Hispanic students, including the Hispanic Policy Network and the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion.
Texas Tech University
|Lubbock, TX||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Based in Lubbock, Texas Tech University serves about 40,000 students, almost 30% of whom are Hispanic. The university secured the Hispanic-serving institution designation in 2019, gaining eligibility for up to $10 million in additional funding to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students.
Dedicated to promoting academic diversity, TTU offers courses like masterpieces of Hispanic literature, Hispanic film in translation, and social change in the Hispanic world through cultural expressions.
Student organizations like the Hispanic Student Society and Hispanic Law Students Association are active on campus, offering events like the Hispanic Honor Society's annual Peace and Security Forum. Texas Tech also oversees the International Journal of Hispanic Media.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
|San Antonio, TX||Graduation Rate: 54%||
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio educates more than 3,000 students annually and maintains a Hispanic enrollment of over 50%, mirroring the community it serves.
The university provides cutting-edge research and treatment for South Texas' large Hispanic community. This dedication includes initiatives such as growing health literacy and expanding dental care in San Antonio's Hispanic community.
UT Health San Antonio promotes leadership in fields like nursing and cancer research, while also working to expand care to underserved populations. The university's organizations and initiatives include the Hispanic Dental Association and the National Hispanic Leadership Initiative on Cancer.
College of the Mainland
|Texas City, TX||Graduation Rate: 92%||
Located near Galveston, Texas City's College of the Mainland is a public community college with a Hispanic population of over 30%. A member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, COM offers associate and technical degrees. The school also provides free GED and ESL classes to members of the community.
In 2015, COM received a $2.6 million grant after securing the Hispanic-serving institution designation. The college offers training in financial literacy and teaches students how to maintain financial aid throughout the academic process.
Hispanic student clubs and organizations include the Hispanic Student Alliance and Minority Men for Excellence.
California State University, Bakersfield
|Bakersfield, CA||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Hispanic students make up almost 50% of the undergraduate population at California State University, Bakersfield. The school is recognized by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and holds the Hispanic-serving institution distinction.
CSUB promotes its student population's Hispanic heritage by supporting the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and by hosting naturalization ceremonies for local residents.
CSUB students can pursue a Chicano studies minor and participate in clubs and organizations like the Mexica Tiahui Ballet Folklórico, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, and the International Students Club. The college's Hispanic Excellence Scholarship Fund awards over 40 scholarships each year.
Texas A&M International University
|Laredo, TX||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Located in Laredo, Texas A&M International University's student body is roughly 95% Hispanic. In 2017, 1,200 of the university's 1,350 degree recipients were Hispanic, and women earned 60% of all degrees. Serving learners from over 40 countries, TAMIU offers many of its programs online and on campus.
TAMIU partners with Texas A&M's College Station campus to offer a Ph.D. in Hispanic studies. Degree-seekers can also major in communication and Spanish and earn education degrees that emphasize ESL and bilingual students.
TAMIU also offers extensive study abroad and international exchange programs. Learners can participate in Hispanic student organizations and clubs and serve their community through groups such as Translators Without Borders.
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Graduation Rate: 65%||
Keiser University opened its doors in 1977 at its flagship campus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Today, approximately 30% of Keiser's students are Hispanic.
Keiser consistently ranks as one of the most affordable schools in the state of Florida. Fort Lauderdale provides a culturally rich setting with a significant Hispanic population, and Keiser's students can participate in a variety of Hispanic clubs and organizations.
While Keiser is based in South Florida, the university also maintains a Latin American campus located in San Marcos, Nicaragua. This campus allows for cross-cultural dialogue, offering degrees in fields like psychology and business administration.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
|Houston, TX||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Founded in 1971, the University of Houston-Clear Lake serves more than 9,000 students, about 40% of whom are Hispanic. As such, UHCL holds the Hispanic-serving institution designation. In 2020, the university's College of Education received a $2.5 million federal grant to promote postbaccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic Americans.
In addition to promoting academic opportunities for Hispanic students, UHCL hosts a Hispanic Heritage Month showcasing art for social justice. This event brings attention to the university's Latinx and Latin American studies minor. UHCL also takes part in the Pathways to STEM Careers program.
UHCL houses several Hispanic-focused groups and organizations, including Latinx and Indigenous Students Taking Action and the Bilingual Education Student Organization.
University of California, Irvine
|Irvine, CA||Graduation Rate: 83%||
The University of California, Irvine received the Hispanic-serving institution designation in March 2017. More than 25% of UCI's student body is Hispanic. The university invests in Hispanic student success by offering mentorships, internships, and scholarships.
The Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at UCI offers undergraduate and graduate students the chance to examine current and past Chicano/a and Latino/a experiences through history and sociology.
The university also offers several clubs and organizations for Hispanic students, including the Latino Business Student Association, the Latinx Law Student Association, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.
San Diego State University
|San Diego, CA||Graduation Rate: 74%||
San Diego State University enrolls about 35,000 students annually, more than 30% of whom are Hispanic. While the national graduation rate for Hispanic students is below 60%, 71% of SDSU's Hispanic students ultimately graduate.
Founded in 1942, SDSU's Center for Latin American Studies offers multidisciplinary undergraduate majors and minors, as well as graduate programs. Students enrolled in these programs can learn about Latin America and participate in research projects and community outreach.
The university also houses organizations like the Hispanic Business Student Association and the Latinx, Chicanx, and Hispanic Faculty and Staff Association.
What Percentage of Hispanic Students Go to College?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of Hispanic high school students entering college grew by 15% between 2000 and 2015. Unfortunately, even with that growth, only 37% of Hispanic high school students ever enroll in college.
Postsecondary graduation rates for Hispanic students are relatively low at each degree level. These figures do not represent an attitude of disregard for higher education, but rather a lack of support, resources, and information about college options.
What Are HACU Schools?
These schools are colleges and universities that are members of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Once schools join this association, they can earn the Hispanic-serving institution designation, which allows them to receive additional funding to create programs that better serve Hispanic learners. HACU currently recognizes 299 member schools.
HACU's list of Hispanic-serving institutions is a great place to start for Hispanic learners interested in attending college. There are currently HACU member schools in 22 states and Puerto Rico. The association continually reviews applications for new member schools.
How Can Hispanic Students Succeed in College?
Hispanic students have a better chance to find success in college if they know how and where to access support services. However, because many Hispanic degree-seekers are the first in their family to attend college, they may not know these resources are available.
Attending a Hispanic-serving institution helps ensure that these students learn about important services and receive advice and support about how to best use them. Many of these institutions provide individual academic coaches to help degree-seekers succeed in college.
What Degrees Are Popular Among Hispanic Students?
Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce found that international business is the most popular major for Hispanic students. About 22% of Hispanic learners pursue this degree. Multi/interdisciplinary studies (19%), industrial and manufacturing engineering (17%), foreign languages (16%), and biomedical engineering (15%) round out the top five majors for Hispanic students.
The center also found that pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, chemical engineering, and electrical engineering offered the highest salaries for Hispanic students, while early childhood education, drama and theatre arts, and theology and religion offered the lowest.
What Scholarship and Financial Aid Opportunities Are Available for Hispanic Students?
There are many funding opportunities for Hispanic college students. Programs such as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation award scholarships each year.
Students who identify as "Dreamers" rather than U.S. citizens may not be eligible for some types of scholarships and federal student aid; however, several organizations earmark funding for this population. For example, TheDream.US awards several scholarships each year.
Hispanic students who do hold citizenship can apply for grants, work-study funds, and student loans through their local, state, and federal governments.